Sergeant First Class (SFC) Charles Martland’s fate could be decided at any day.
If you don’t know the story of this decorated Green Beret – a Bronze Star Medal recipient – you need to watch this moving and impassioned speech delivered by an Army veteran, state legislator (from my home state).
Virginia Delegate Nicholas Freitas served in the same battalion as SFC Martland – the Third Battalion, First Special Forces Group.
He tells how “a small boy had been tied to a post and brutalized for days,” how the boy’s mother pleaded for help, how the Afghani police officer who raped the boy laughed about it, and how SFC Martland took action to defend the boy and “punish” his attacker.
Delegate Freitas tells his first-hand experience about the vitally important role that soldiers play in the Afghan community and how SFC Martland should be honored, not discharged, for his heroic actions:
You do not truly appreciate evil when you look at it. You appreciate what it is when it looks back. And the question that every Service Member has to come into contact with when that episode happens is what are you going to do about it. And Sergeant First Class Martland confronted evil. He punished it. He demonstrated to evil and he demonstrated to that boy and his mother that someone was going to be willing to stand up for him, somebody was going to be willing to face the consequences that could have arisen from this and defend this boy when nobody else would. And our response now as a country and a military is going to be to drum him out!
We should be very, very carful about the message that we send to the men and women that we expect to go over seas and put their bodies, themselves, in harm’s way, to stand in-between the innocent and those who would exploit and destroy them. Because when you have signified to them that you will not have their back as soon as it becomes politically inconvenient, that as soon as it may look bad in the press you’re going to abandon them, don’t expect a military that is going to continue to go over there and put everything on the line – give up all of their tomorrows . . . .
Delegate Freitas put it bluntly, “He is owed our loyalty.”
He said that we should be “proud” that this child was willing to go up to an American soldier because he “sees that flag on his shoulder as a symbol of someone that he can go to for protection.”
He’s exactly right. That’s why at the ACLJ we are aggressively engaged in a multi-pronged legal effort to do just that. We’ve sent critical legal letters to President Obama, Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley, Army Deputy Chief of Staff General James McConville, the chairmen and ranking members of both the House and Senate Armed Services committees, two letters to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, and most recently 19 letters to the leading veterans organizations in the country.
We also continue to raise this critical issue in the media, advocating for the exoneration of SFC Martland.
Already investigations have begun into this situation, but there is so much more that needs to be done for SFC Martland.
Unfortunately, the evil that SFC Martland faced is rampant all across Afghanistan and our military is turning a blind eye to the sexual torture of children. You can learn more about these atrocious and our international work to defend these children here.
Join our efforts and sign our petition for SFC Martland today.